Are atheists who think there is no afterlife comfortable with the thought of annihilationism?


#1

.P.S.:Before going on I’d like to say to those who aren’t into religion or at least theistic spirituality I’d like them to know that even though I might not agree with them on some things,I recognize their thoughts and their significance to them and respect the level of personal conviction put into them with the assumption that those are there genuine thoughts regarding that.No offense to my siblings in humanity atheists and agnostics.]

During my last year of high school when a boy in my group table started asking everyone at what religion they follow¹ one of them said “I used to be a Christian…yo it goes Christian,then Buddhist,then * atheist” before him and the one asking (a Muslim) chuckled.In my mind I was like (euphemistically speaking) “…donkeys -_-”.

That’s the thing about ppl who follow apathetic agnosticism or apathetic atheism.I can *easily *imagine them on their deathbed making a big last minute panic about whether there is an afterlife and what kind it will be in fear of utter oblivion.I mean even the Dharmic religions which can sometimes be hardly theistic at all at least you have the route of reincarnation taking you along²!.

Then there’s those who are downright foolish enough³ to make fun of the concept of an afterlife like (may they not do so for their own good) Heaven.Why would they ever do that?!?!.It’s would like if a doctor were handing medicine to you for a fatal incurable disease you have and you throw the pills at the doctor’s face jeeringly (just for the sake of doing that) and everyone in the room laughs with you a the doctor!.

I mean we all know of tons of negative moments when life seems very dismal but why would they ever deny themselves the possibility of entering Heaven for oblivion?.If you cant make it to Heaven does the cessation of any further existance actually seem better then the infernal place?.Has the apparent bleakness of this reality seeped into them so much that Heaven doesn’t even look like an escapist * pie in the sky* but just something not true that was never there?.Even if that were the case,it kind of seems like your shooting yourself in the foot if your cutting off an avenue out of such a bleak place.

I would say the same thing to those who think that this (and maybe some quantum stuff which is still undivine) is all reality is on the basis of scientific materialism.Are you honestly okay with hardly living more or less a century before poof nothing but unsentient ashes as a subject for the law of the conservation of energy?.By corollary is that what you think the mind is?.A bunch of “talking sparks” going around in brain cells?.

Personally I would even say that the annihilationist alternative for humans (is arguably) the infernal place.

¹except me oddly enough though honestly I wouldn’t have answered him seeing as how he seemed to be expecting some sort of reaction

²though I dont personally like the idea no offense to anyone who believes in it,at least there’s that

³like in a comedy act if you’d like to call it that >I : (*


#2

You seem to hold a lot of misconceptions about atheists. Your comment about apathetic atheists probably worrying about there being an afterlife was correct, and I would not be surprised to find that lots of my friends who are apathetic atheists join a religion at some point in their lives, as they don’t really seem to look into what they believe. They don’t really know why they don’t believe in a god, and they couldn’t defend their position most of the time.

You also don’t seem to understand what most atheists believe. I don’t believe I will have any kind of conciousness after my death. I won’t see darkness, or utter oblivion, I simply won’t exist. I won’t even be aware of my death. I’ll be gone. I won’t think, or speak, or see or anything.

Anyway, when it comes to your comments about atheists making fun of the afterlife you’re already looking at the situation with the bias of your Catholicism. The fact is, atheists don’t believe in Heaven, and they don’t believe Heaven is being offered to them like you make out it is in your post. It’s not the same as someone coming up to them, showing them £100 and offering it to them. It’s the equivalent of people running around claiming that if they devote their life to an idea, if they become a sycophant to that idea, a man who they have never seen but claim to love more than anyone will give them £100 because they read it in a book. Of course, I’m dumbing it down slightly, but you’re acting as if the promise of Heaven is something that is obviously true and will obviously happen, when there’s nothing to suggest it exists. And, yes, I’d much rather not exist and feel nothing than experience everlasting pain. I’d also like to note that I don’t make fun of the afterlife, and I feel it’s a little disrespectful to other people.

Your comment about atheists finding the world bleak is another thing I’d like to get on, because most of us don’t. I think the world is quite a nice place. You seem to hold this fantasy view of atheists that theists like - that they’re all only atheists because they’re terribly depressed souls who hate their life, rather than the fact that most people are atheists because they feel that is just what makes the most sense.

Yes. I’m fine with it. Though, if I had a choice as to whether there could be an afterlife or not, I’d wish there was. But I just don’t believe there is, and I have seen nothing yet to suggest otherwise. When people die, they’re dead. Eternally unconscious. And, when I think about it, I’d much rather that happened than anyone face eternal torture.


#3

I once met an atheist who said nonexistence was preferable to existence.


#4

Whatever you gotta tell yourself :shrug: You’ll be disappointed in the long run u_u


#5

And yet he hadn’t acted on that belief - curious.


#6

When I pointed that out to him, he got mad :shrug:


#7

:o Thanks for your thoughts and two bit,good person.I didn’t mean for anyone to take it to hard,if they did.I know that some ppl choose atheism b/c that’s what make’s the most sense to them.However I hope you understand that I (as a theist) feel compelled to ask “why?:confused:” with at least a small bit of concern when ppl choose that option.


#8

Maybe, maybe not. None of us knows for sure; that’s why it’s called faith. We may have a subjective certainty because of our experiences that an atheist lacks, but still it’s not absolute knowledge.

I can understand that an atheist wants to live without fear. If there is nothing after death then there is nothing to fear. The problem is that there is nothing to hope for either, and life is infused with despair. Perhaps not an emotional despair (hope and happiness exist in our short lives), but a metaphysical one.

To be or not to be! Shakespeare nailed it.

I like how C.S. Lewis juxtaposed atheism and theism: Is our worldview — our view on humanity — a tragedy or a comedy? (see his essay Is Theology Poetry?)


#9

Totally comfortable with the idea of there not being an afterlife. I have never believed in one, and frankly, think the idea is just wishful thinking. I mean I know people sincerely believe it, but really cannot understand the rationale behind the idea that that you can have sentience when you’re dust in the wind. I mean seriously, you didn’t have sentience before you were alive, so why would you think you’d have it after? It’s exactly the same so if you think it’s ridiculous to think you had a “before-life” hopefully you can understand a little bit why I don’t believe in an after-life.
It doesn’t bother me in the least bit, in fact I look forward to it. It’s not that I hate my life or anything, I just think non-existence is preferable. :thumbsup:


#10

Some think they did have it before they were alive. OTOH, were you “sentient” when you were a day old?


#11

I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”-Mark Twain (supposedly)

:smiley: Sorry I couldn’t resist.That’s the first thing that came to my mind.This is my first time making a counter-response to an atheist on religion by the way.

I think it’s to some degree a natural thing to think that there’s a before-life.I mean how many of us haveever thought if there is so much suffering in the world why did God bring me into existance?.Dont you think that kind of implies that before having an earthly existance we were actually doing something else in another one?.Anyways,funny thing about me and the thought of a before-life (which isn’t ridiculous at all to me).

Esp.when I was little I used to think that before existing here I was already united with God in eternity somehow (though I wouldn’t really say it was Heaven).

Now that I think of it who’s to say (except maybe my fellow Catholics who can correct me on this ;)) that before having an earthly existance I was a more or less a “formless” soul already with God.The reason were here is as a part of like a test to see how well we can make it in a world full of sin (something we didn’t have to deal with before) so that hopefully in end we actually get a better form when we the more unique unity with God that was different from the before-life.


#12

when i was an atheist i was almost completley comfortable with annihilationism
because i thought everyone was better than me ( in a bad way ) and 60% of the time i was depressed and sleep deprived because of the concept seeming to be real to me ( almost until my reversion in fact )

shalom
God Bless


#13

On another note when I wrote this


#14

[quote="Regular_Atheist, post:2, topic:299441"]
You seem to hold a lot of misconceptions about atheists. Your comment about apathetic atheists probably worrying about there being an afterlife was correct, and I would not be surprised to find that lots of my friends who are apathetic atheists join a religion at some point in their lives, as they don't really seem to look into what they believe. They don't really know why they don't believe in a god, and they couldn't defend their position most of the time.

You also don't seem to understand what most atheists believe. I don't believe I will have any kind of conciousness after my death. I won't see darkness, or utter oblivion, I simply won't exist. I won't even be aware of my death. I'll be gone. I won't think, or speak, or see or anything.

Anyway, when it comes to your comments about atheists making fun of the afterlife you're already looking at the situation with the bias of your Catholicism. The fact is, atheists don't believe in Heaven, and they don't believe Heaven is being offered to them like you make out it is in your post. It's not the same as someone coming up to them, showing them £100 and offering it to them. It's the equivalent of people running around claiming that if they devote their life to an idea, if they become a sycophant to that idea, a man who they have never seen but claim to love more than anyone will give them £100 because they read it in a book. Of course, I'm dumbing it down slightly, but you're acting as if the promise of Heaven is something that is obviously true and will obviously happen, when there's nothing to suggest it exists. And, yes, I'd much rather not exist and feel nothing than experience everlasting pain. I'd also like to note that I don't make fun of the afterlife, and I feel it's a little disrespectful to other people.

Your comment about atheists finding the world bleak is another thing I'd like to get on, because most of us don't. I think the world is quite a nice place. You seem to hold this fantasy view of atheists that theists like - that they're all only atheists because they're terribly depressed souls who hate their life, rather than the fact that most people are atheists because they feel that is just what makes the most sense.

Yes. I'm fine with it. Though, if I had a choice as to whether there could be an afterlife or not, I'd wish there was. But I just don't believe there is, and I have seen nothing yet to suggest otherwise. When people die, they're dead. Eternally unconscious. And, when I think about it, I'd much rather that happened than anyone face eternal torture.

[/quote]

Great response, RA. Couldn't agree more.

As Sam Harris put it in his talk at the Global Atheist Convention this year, atheists are the only people who accept the reality of death. And that just makes it all the more necessary for us to make the most of the life we have, because it's the only one we have.


#15

There is no real way that a person could know about an afterlife from pure logic and reason.
This could always be argued pro or con.

But the reason christians believe in an afterlife is because Jesus Christ came down from heaven and not only revealed himself to us, but affirmed an afterlife for good or bad and for the good and bad. This is the only way we can be sure of an afterlife.

So the arguments for an afterlife really depend on the arguments about Jesus Christ pro or con.
If he is God, then … or if he is mere man then …

Just a thought.


#16

Almost: Atheists are the only people who accept the death of reality.


#17

I don’t ‘‘deny’’ myself the possibility of entering Heaven for oblivion. I can’t deny myself something I don’t believe exists.

If you cant make it to Heaven does the cessation of any further existance actually seem better then the infernal place?

Of course it does. Why wouldn’t oblivion be better than eternal torture :confused:

.Has the apparent bleakness of this reality seeped into them so much that Heaven doesn’t even look like an escapist * pie in the sky* but just something not true that was never there?.

What bleakness are you refering to? Cessation of existence? If that’s what you’re talking about, that has never seemed bleak to me. It’s part of the natural world, it’s how the world operates, and I’m a part of nature. There’s nothing bleak in death. Death is just part of life and living, in the same way eating and drinking and laughing and crying and making love are. I’ve never seen anything bleak in death.

Even if that were the case,it kind of seems like your shooting yourself in the foot if your cutting off an avenue out of such a bleak place.

How can I be cutting of an avenue of escape, that, to me, doesn’t exist?

Are you honestly okay with hardly living more or less a century before poof nothing but unsentient ashes as a subject for the law of the conservation of energy?.By corollary is that what you think the mind is?.A bunch of “talking sparks” going around in brain cells?.

Totally.

I will fertilize a special tree, where my remains will be buried, and family and future generations will sit under that tree for it’s shade, picnik around it, the kids will climb it and make a tree house in it, and I will be underneath it, feeding it, sustaining it, and I can’t think of a better use of my remains than to be able to carry on doing something useful after I’ve gone :smiley:

And that tree will carry on sustaining life, and when it dies, it will join me and we’ll carry on sustaining the soil and whatever else will be growing there millenia from now.

In the meantime, my genes will have been passed on, so I’ll carry on living through my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and on and on.

This is my idea of eternity, and is totally in keeping with nature.

Sarah x :slight_smile:


#18

Yes I am familiar with that quote.

:smiley: Sorry I couldn’t resist.That’s the first thing that came to my mind.This is my first time making a counter-response to an atheist on religion by the way.

:nunchuk: :stuck_out_tongue:

I think it’s to some degree a natural thing to think that there’s a before-life.I mean how many of us haveever thought if there is so much suffering in the world why did God bring me into existance?

Maybe God had nothing to do with it :wink:

Don’t you think that kind of implies that before having an earthly existance we were actually doing something else in another one?

No I do not think it implies that, even if I try to look at things from a theist’s point of view

Anyways,funny thing about me and the thought of a before-life (which isn’t ridiculous at all to me).

Interesting. Sorry for calling it ridiculous - I did not know there were people who thought that.

From a logical standpoint, as opposed to faith, it makes no sense for one to have anything resembling brain function (i.e. experiencing joy in heaven or pain in hell) when one’s brain has been recycled back into the Earth.

So the arguments for an afterlife really depend on the arguments about Jesus Christ pro or con.
If he is God, then … or if he is mere man then …

Just a thought.

I can’t relate to that way of thinking. But as I come to CAF to learn and understand, I thank you for sharing that.


#19

Yes I am familiar with that quote.

:smiley: Sorry I couldn’t resist.That’s the first thing that came to my mind.This is my first time making a counter-response to an atheist on religion by the way.

:nunchuk: :stuck_out_tongue:

I think it’s to some degree a natural thing to think that there’s a before-life.I mean how many of us haveever thought if there is so much suffering in the world why did God bring me into existance?

Maybe God had nothing to do with it :wink:

Don’t you think that kind of implies that before having an earthly existance we were actually doing something else in another one?

No I do not think it implies that, even if I try to look at things from a theist’s point of view

Anyways,funny thing about me and the thought of a before-life (which isn’t ridiculous at all to me).

Interesting. Sorry for calling it ridiculous - I did not know there were people who thought that.

From a logical standpoint, as opposed to faith, it makes no sense for one to have anything resembling brain function (i.e. experiencing joy in heaven or pain in hell) when one’s brain has been recycled back into the Earth.

So the arguments for an afterlife really depend on the arguments about Jesus Christ pro or con.
If he is God, then … or if he is mere man then …

Just a thought.

I can’t relate to that way of thinking. But as I come to CAF to learn and understand, I thank you for sharing that.

:thumbsup:


#20

Not too sure what you mean by this, although I could speculate on several possibilities.

Reality is what is - even if that means we all perish in the ultimate heat death of the universe, if that is indeed what happens. Harris also pointed out that it is the fear of death, the inability or unwillingness to accept the complete cessation of conscious experience, and the attendant knowledge that we will lose loved ones, that drives most religions - certainly all those that have recourse to the assumption of a supernatural realm beyond the reality we experience.

I would be more inclined to say that atheism rather forces an acceptance of these realities, rather than offering a way around them. There is no softening, comforting recourse to a possible afterlife or the prospect of some kind of reincarnation. There is just oblivion. But that makes the life we have the most important focus for our attention. The only ones who can change our lives, make them better, have any effect upon the lives of others, are ourselves. It’s a big responsibility to shoulder. Again, to paraphrase Harris’s talk, when you accept the hard reality of death, life becomes the emergency - a long emergency for many, but nevertheless, the thing that must be dealt with. The primary difference between a theistic and an atheistic outlook, as I’m sure most forum frequenters are aware, is the focal point - for the former, it is living life in preparation for the afterlife, in the hope that somehow you have picked the right God/gods or other spiritual path; for the latter, it is just living life, in best way we know how.


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